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    Sedat Ergin: Turban Controversy Ended, Until 2007

    Hürriyet Haber
    31.10.2003 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    “The crisis regarding the reception in the Cankaya (Presidential) Kiosk, which has occupied the agenda of Turkey for days, ended on Wednesday evening. The case was “closed” with the statements of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday that “The discussion on the issue ended.”Of course this does not mean that turban controversy will leave the agenda of Turkey altogether. However the rule, which was put forward by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer that the Cankaya (Presidential) Kiosk is a public place where turban cannot enter, is in a process of institutionalization until May 16, 2007, when the tenure of the President will end. “This means that the very same practice will be operational in the receptions of 2005, 2006, and 2007. Then the attitude of the new President will determine the way to be followed.“…Apart from a change in the Presidency, what can pave the way for wearing turban (Islamic head gear) in the protocol of Cankaya (Presidential) Kiosk? First, especially the Constitutional Court and Council of State may amend the doctrine interpreting the notion of public place in a wider sense. In its present composition, the Constitutional Court does not seem to accept such an amendment. Any way this step will not be sufficient and an amendment will be necessary in regulations, which will in turn necessitate a decision of the Constitutional Court and Council of State. Moreover, if Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan resorts to a Constitutional amendment so as to bring about freedom for turban, this will cause political and social tension.“…The body that can make this practice more flexible can be the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR). However, in all decisions it has taken regarding turban in Turkey, it has ruled that turban, which is a religious symbol, has no place in public places.“…Therefore in any case, it seems to be difficult for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to find a way for turban in public places.”
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